Sun Devils fire Herb Sendek

Arizona State fired its men's basketball coach Herb Sendek after nine seasons and a 155-133 record, 68-86 in the Pac-12.

Arizona State basketball coach Herb Sendek was fired after nine seasons at the school by Vice President for Athletics Ray Anderson during a Tuesday morning meeting according to a source with direct knowledge of the development.

Sendek had an overall record of 155-133 at ASU including 68-86 in Pac-12 games with NCAA Tournament Appearances in 2008-09 and 2013-14. This season ASU finished 18-16 overall. He won just one NCAA Tournament game in nine years at the school despite five 20-plus win seasons.

This season the Sun Devils started 0-4 in Pac-12 play before finishing the regular season with wins in nine of 14 games for a .500 finish at 9-9 in Pac-12 play and a No. 5 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament, four spots higher than they were predicted to finish in the preseason conference media poll.

But ASU lost in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament to No. 12 seed USC after leading by 14 points with nine minutes left in the game, a result Anderson called "painful for a lot of folks."

In February, program sources said Sendek's job was relatively safe. The USC loss fundamentally changed the way Sendek was viewed internally, however, and ultimately led to his dismissal.

The decommitment of high profile 2017 point guard Markus Howard, a Top-50 national recruit at Perry High School in Gilbert, Ariz., certainly couldn't have helped. That followed closely on the heels of ASU's loss to the Trojans.

"We have heard from a lot of folks who are very disgruntled with where the program is," Anderson told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM's Bickley and Marotta last Wednesday. "So at the end of the day, you've got to evaluate the program and do what's in the best interest of Sun Devil athletics."

Ultimately Anderson decided to take the program in a different direction even after giving Sendek a one-year contract extension last year that was ratified by the Arizona Board of Regents December.

Sendek's contract runs through June of 2017 and pays him $1.2 million annually with a scheduled raise to $1.3 million in 2015-16 had he been retained. He is due the full amount on his remaining two years, which would be in excess of $2.4 million.

"Most importantly, you try to think of what's in the best interest going forward, because the past doesn't do us any good," Anderson told Bickley and Marotta a week ahead of his final decision. "If you're trying to be elite and best in class, then you have to look forward aggressively all the time about how do you continue to get better. So as part of that evaluation, I will look at all of the things that happened this season, and then make a determination of the best way forward."

ASU's home attendance numbers have been stuck in the bottom-half of the league, including eighth in 2014-15 with an average of 5,985. This, despite a much improved turn out among ASU students in the last two years and national recognition for the so-called "Curtain of Distraction."

But ASU's Academic Progress Rate number is at an all-time program high of 989, and the Sun Devils have a handful of committed and signed prospects in the 2015 and 2016 classes who are well regarded. They also return four starters next year and should be improved from a team that played its best basketball in February and March, a bad Pac-12 Tournament loss to USC and ugly showing at Utah notwithstanding.

Sendek won't be given the chance to coach them, however.

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